This debate will be arguing about whether or not it should be widely socially acceptable to return materials gifted to someone through a present back to where the materials were bought from.
I, as Pro, will be arguing that we SHOULD be able to, whether with or without external consent, be able to return a gift without resulting negative sanctions being generally appropriate.
My opponent, as Con, will be arguing that we should NOT be able to, whether with or without external consent, be able to return a gift while expecting to be free of negative consequences that SHOULD be viewed as appropriate.
Very standard format:
Finally, settling a semantic very quickly.
Gift n. Material objects given without an expectancy of reciprocity, often representing sentimental, non-material symbols.
Hopefully, I kept this minimalistic and simple without diminishing the potential debate. I hope my opponent will make enticing claims in what I have faith will be a stimulating discussion.
I look forward to hearing your arguments....
...and smashing them to smithereens.
Anyways, to begin my argument, I'd like to immediately use a Reductio ad absurdum for demonstration purposes. It shouldn't be difficult to form or understand.
Say, hypothetically, you're gifted a RDD, which is an explosive device that combines both conventional explosive and radioactive material traits. A dispersing agent. Most humans, evidently, are rather reactive to radioactive materials and explosions in that there are often cases in which this kills people.
It doesn't have to be an RDD. Just something very hazardous.
I think that at this point, it's reasonable to say that that gift should be returned, as the recipient wants nothing to do with it.
Now, the reason I'm using this technique is to prove that there is definitely, even in today's present non-hypothetical society with its rules and regimes given the hypothetical addition of something such as a hazard, a line somewhere between being supposedly obligated to keep a present and not so.
So there draws the line of our debate. Whether it leans in favor of either of us will be dependent on how well we debate. Of course, I believe it leans in my favor, for several reasons.
Existent Observed Rules of Society
Here are a select few of the rules we seem to currently speculate, given that we know there's a line, which I will assume we do as I'm sure most people who have gotten to this section of the argument would have read everything hitherto.
Being that the basis of whether or not a present should be returned is a judgement already placed on the recipient, it seems like it's intuitively acceptable to return gifts, then.
Argument of Converse and Obverse Law
Now, a couple of other presently speculated laws:
Since all three of these cannot exist harmoniously, one can presume, then, that gift returning should simply be considered acceptable.
I believe you have wasted your words with the whole Reductio ad absurdum skit though. By your definition of a gift, sentimental symbolism is often the representation. This is the common understanding of what is meant by a gift. Calling an explosive device a gift is a rhetorical device. It is ironic. It is something you might find an action movie star saying in an action movie as he blows up the villain on the villains birthday. Used as a humorous euphemism.
Lets stick with the common sense.
A gift, such as a birthday gift, Christmas gift or any kind of gift of appreciation show that the giver has spent more than just money on the recipient.
It shows that they have also spent thought in contemplation of the person. This is where the saying (oft used to make one feel better about receiving a crappy gift I must admit) "it's the thought that counts" comes from. And indeed it is the thought that counts. To know that one has occupied a sentimental place in another's mind is the truest and purest gift one can receive. To have someone consider you, and to consider the things that they know about you, and then to take their considerations and form a hypothesis around some thing that they hope you will appreciatively receive, and with all these considerations of your good self being underpinned and motivated in the mind of the giver by a desire to show you that you are appreciated and that they care about you? Well, the act of gift-giving is one of the most personal and touching things that humans do for each other.
Do they sometimes get it woefully wrong? But of course. We are, after all, only human. But it's the thought that counts. The gift itself is of little consequence. It is the meaning that the physical gift transmits that contains the true value.
So what of you who would return a gift? You are saying so much more than you might believe. You are inadvertently expressing ungratefulness. If the true value of a gift lies in its underlying meaning, then what underlying meaning can be taken from the rejection, return or exchange of a gift?
It is an insult, whether conscious or not. It is saying "I know it is the thought that counts, but your thoughts are inadequate"
It is saying "I know it is the thought that counts, but I do not care all that much for your thoughts or feelings. I would rather you had given me impersonal cash to spend as I choose"
But that robs the experience of gift receiving of all its true value.
Better to acknowledge and appreciate the considerations given to you with a grateful and noble acceptance than to slam the metaphorical door in the face of someone who had afforded you the time to occupy such an esteemed position in their mind.
As stated, giving gifts is one of the most personal and touching things that humans do for each other.
Rejecting, returning or exchanging gifts is one of the most thoughtless and unappreciative things you could do. Although no reciprocity may be expected, in doing so you have reciprocated. With an insult.
To begin this round, before I attempt any new arguments, I'd like to immediately rebut a couple of Con's statements.
Firstly, he believes my Reductio ad absurdum argument is "Used as a humorous euphemism." So, I'd like to analyze his paragraph proving why.
The Reasoning Behind the Titling: "...a humorous euphemism."
Starting with the concrete before we get to the abstract, here is a statement, ipsissimis verbis, from Con. "Calling an explosive device a gift is a rhetorical device. It is ironic." For those who happen to be a bit less versed in what my opponent is saying, a rhetorical device, if my High School English lessons don't fail me, is something meant to persuade people, which, observant readers may speculate, is what this website is meant for. Con implicitly condemns me for doing such a thing. "It is ironic..." indeed.
Now, the troubling part in his reasoning, of course, comes into play when he states that my Reductio ad absurdum argument is a "...euphemism." If you, the reader, are not acquainted with what this type of argument is, due to whatever reason, it is an argument that takes events to absurd extremes to prove that the case is not universal, and proves that there is indeed a line.
Careful readers will note that making something a euphemism would verily be the opposite of making something absurd.
However, I'll allow this to be regarded a simple vocabulary slip and assume my opponent meant to say "an absurd extreme." So, his argument then becomes that it is too extreme and should be completely disregarded. It's not something one would expect. "It is ironic." Very well.
But that's the reason we should disregard it? The point of the argument, as I established in my definition (which you may check in my previous source, if you feel so inclined), is to prove that a case is not universal. I did so successfully. Why should it be disregarded because I was successful!?
"Oh, hey Jim. Did you finish that little invention of yours?"
"Yes! It does exactly what I wanted it to!"
"Oh, so it's successful? Ugh, but it's too extreme. It might change the world...too much! We must discard and disregard its existence altogether, despite the potential benefits."
I fail to see how that's reasonable in any sense, Con. As such, I will move on without any intention on disregarding my sound argument. Agreed?
"Yes, yes TheDarkMuffin, very good."
Alright. Continuing on!
The "Common Sense" Paradigm
"Lets stick with the common sense."
Common sense. My opponent is, currently, imperating us to stick to the notion of what he perceives as "...common sense." Me as an instigator, and you as the audience, can only be fair if we make a hypothetical compliance. So let's do that.
Of course, we're only doing a hypothetical compliance for a reason. My opponent can't possibly actually be talking about a current, pragmatic version of Common Sense. After all, that's what we're challenging. He's creating his own rules for what Common Sense is. Otherwise, his statement would make no sense as an argument beyond him simply ordering you to vote him without arguing at all. So, it's only reasonable to assume he meant a hypothetical Common Sense. One that you, as an audience in society, would not have. So, of course, this can only be reviewed objectively and hypothetically.
When receiving a gift, "a crappy gift I must admit," my opponent asserts that "it's the thought that counts." This is similar to our Common Sense! A use of decorum. A rhetorical device. Don't you think it would've been ironic if my opponent had condemned blatantly using such a thing earlier?
Anyways, Con then begins to declare several implications of this notion. If "it's the thought that counts," then, according to my opponent, returning a gift is, verbatim, "an insult, whether conscious or not. It is saying 'I know it is the thought that counts, but your thoughts are inadequate'" which is, in fact, an implication I'm sure everyone had already assumed. But, moving further into the implications, the thought is assigned to the gift, yes?
Who assigned the thoughts?
Another person who is "only human." They have no more authority than you do as a person. So, once it's been assigned, the immaterial thought is assigned to this material item...forever? So, if this object decays, then the thought no longer exists!?
My opponent accepted my semantic that "a gift [is] sentimental symbolism." So, it may seem that my opponent does believe that thoughts are only meant to be assigned to material objects. However, he then states that the object is merely a "representation."
So, to make sense of my opponent's inconsistent argument, I will revise it to mean that we should not return material objects because they represented meaning.
Meaning that was assigned by someone who was "only human."
So, being that they have no authority over you, as reciprocity is not expected and the fact that they are just as human as you, this means you also have the ability to assign and re-assign meaning.
It is then clear that it is perfectly okay to return the materials presented as a gift, as the meaning can still be kept, which appears to be the main conflict. That conflict being resolved, it's clear that it is acceptable to return gifts.
After all, it's only "common sense."
I would wager that when the audience hears the word 'gift', the sense in which they most commonly conceive of it is as a token of sentimentality or appreciation - of something nice given by one person to another. We can therefore say that the common sense (that is, the sense which is taken by the majority) of the term 'gift' is that of a sentimental symbolism. So lets stick with the common sense of the term 'gift'.
This isn't merely MY perception. Show a picture of an explosive device to 100 people and give them a multiple choice survey, one of the options being 'gift' one of the options being 'weapon' and I sense that the gift label would never be applied to it. Show them a picture of a box wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow on top, same multiple choices and they would perhaps invariably label that as a gift.
Why capitalise the words common sense? It's not a noun. It's literally just the sense most commonly shared by people. That's all.
"My opponent accepted my semantic that "a gift [is] sentimental symbolism." So, it may seem that my opponent does believe that thoughts are only meant to be assigned to material objects. However, he then states that the object is merely a "representation."
Perhaps you can explain the difference or inconsistency between calling something 'symbolism' and calling it a 'representation' ? I might be being dumb here but it seems to me that, far from being an inconsistency, they are actually synonymous in this regard.
Perhaps you do have the ability to assign your own meaning to a gift. Of course you do. But what you can't do is reassign the meaning that is being transmitted by the person who is giving you the gift. That is not for you to do.
So, the euphemism thing. If a euphemism is an attempt at trying to make something sound better than it actually is, then how is calling an explosive device a gift not a euphemism?
By you doing so, by your attempts to subvert the meaning of the word gift to persuade the audience to give your fragile argument some credibility, you have employed a rhetorical device. Simple.
Audience, I am in absolutely no doubt that you have been able to see how TheDarkMuffin has become embroiled in a quagmire of supposed logic to the detriment of his own argument. The subject matter, which he suggested, has taken a backseat to semantics and the most useless exercise in apparent reasoning.
Get back on topic, TheDarkMuffin!
As a simple reminder to my opponent, the final round is reserved entirely for rebutting. I'd also like to thank my opponent for a rejuvenating debate. Now, to the rebuttals.
Representation Versus Symbolism
"Perhaps you can explain the difference or inconsistency between calling something 'symbolism' and calling it a 'representation' ?"
They are rather synonymous, as you claim in the following sentence, but this is a Contextomy Fallacy. Con is purposely taking what I'm saying and putting it out of context to make it appear as though I'm being unreasonable. I was saying that it's inconsistent because Con was saying that the object is the symbolism. Following that, Con says that it's a representation. That's seemingly the intended effect, as Con is arguing that the materials not be returned.
If the object is accepted as a constant in that it is the symbol, then it's not merely a representation. It is the actual entity. The "real deal." The "legit sh*t." I'm not quite sure how many other ways I can word it so that my opponent may understand. So, it seems to denote two things, according to my opponent's representation of my definition.
I was showing that the line that was being implied was between what we perceive as the material world and the nonmaterial/sentimental world. I then argued that my opponent's argument had some inconsistency in the authority implied within the sentimental world, with who can assign things to whom. He ranked both the receiver and gifter as "only human." Being that they are supposedly of the same authority, why is it that "you can't...reassign the meaning?" What I mean to convey is, the meaning was apparently already existent. In fact, in Round 2, I believe that my opponent defined the confines of the meaning. To show that the gifter "spent more than just money on the recipient." To show that the gifter "spent thought in contemplation of the person." Okay, so that's apparently established.
So that means that my opponent is saying that the meaning was already assigned. It was simply reassigned by the gifter. If this is not what Con is saying, I'd like Con to elaborate on what all those quotes actually meant, without adding any new arguments. Simply correcting his own. If I am correct in what Con is saying, then it seems that there's an intrinsic value to what Con is saying despite what one would think: Gifts are acceptable to return if the meaning is reassigned. So, in summarization, gifts are acceptable to return, which is my argument.
"The subject matter, which he suggested, has taken a backseat to semantics..."
My opponent is saying that I've actually not been arguing as much in terms of reason as I have been in terms of terms. It can be considered rather negligible, being that there's always the option of me saying "You too!" or "You started it!" But, to be a fair opponent to my Contender, I will look at how Con believes I am abusing semantics to support my argument more than reason.
First, it apparently seems that he believes I'm doing so through my successes to "capitalise the words common sense,"* because it implies that I don't believe its definition is "the sense most commonly shared by people." This is, of course, not true. I do believe this is the definition. However, we're speaking hypothetically, which is something my opponent seems to be failing to understand.
Also, my opponent believes I'm abusing the term "gift." He's saying that because most people would not consider a bomb a gift, it cannot be a gift, despite the authority of the gifter to assign a meaning. It does provoke one to wonder, if not just anything can be considered a gift, then what rules something a gift? This isn't a new argument, simply to clarify. This is something I brought up in Round 2. I'm using it now to rebut Con. If a bomb is no longer on the list, it seems like we're not using the "One man's trash is another man's treasure" logic. We can only gift things that the majority of society deems fit. Or at least "100 people." Of course, that's probably just a sample data pool. But, in this data pool, it's not just the majority that has to approve. It's everyone. Nobody can disapprove. It must be made sure that a disapproving label "would never be applied to it." Well, let's face it. That's absolutely impossible. Even a "box wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow on top" would sometimes be disapproved by one of the seven billion people on this planet. If we need one whole percent, it's still unrealistic to say that it won't happen.
It's unfair to say that my Reductio ad absurdum argument is invalid simply because the gift I presented for the hypothetical situation is something that most would not consider a gift, as that is the point of my argument. I made it absurd so that people could see that there were definitely confines for something to be a gift and for something to be returned and not returned and such. Then, I deconstructed those perceived rules and pointed out contradictions and flaws. That's the point. That's the purpose.
F*cking Rhetorical Devices! (How Do They Work!?)
A significant part of literature./
One may wonder: how does it work?/
You use rhetoric when you argue!/
So you've probably "employed" one too!/
My opponent keeps pointing out how I've deployed, or rather, "employed" several rhetorical devices. Very observant. But this is a debate. We are supposed to use rhetorical devices. It's very redundant to point out rhetorical devices.
"Hey! That Chess player is 'employing' a strategy! She's planning ahead! I'm calling her out on it!"
*I'd just like to say that the sentence following that, my opponent implies that only nouns may be capitalized, and reasons that that means Common Sense cannot be capitalized because it is not a noun. It's a noun. It's not an adjective. It's not a verb. It's a noun. This hasn't much to do with the argument, it just bothered the hell out of me. That is all. Almost.
Lastly, so I may end my arguments and rebuttals of all my rounds on a positive note, I'd like to commend the spelling and grammar of my opponent. It's not often I debate people who appear as fluent and educated in a way such as my opponent. Thank you very much. That is actually all.
What I said was, in other words, that the word 'gift' most commonly represents something that is given as a symbol of sentimentality. There, we have cleared that up in one sentence.
"Also, my opponent believes I'm abusing the term "gift." He's saying that because most people would not consider a bomb a gift, it cannot be a gift, despite the authority of the gifter to assign a meaning. It does provoke one to wonder, if not just anything can be considered a gift, then what rules something a gift?"
A gift is something that is intended to be to the recipients benefit and well being. Certainly nothing that is intended to cause the recipient harm could be termed a gift.
Why can't you reassign the meaning? Well, contrary to your argument that because both people "are only human" that it is fine for them as equal authorities to reassign meaning, the argument actually works against you. If they are of equal authority then on what authority can the recipient reassign the givers meaning? If the gift giver gave their gift in a spirit of thanks - lets say the recipient helped them out in some way - the gift giver wanted to thank them and so gave them a gift to show it, then on what grounds can the recipient reassign the meaning of the gifting to one of bribery, for talking's sake?
The gift-giver gave their gift as a token of thanks. The recipient reassigned the meaning of the gift to mean that the giver was trying to bribe them. On what grounds does another human have to reassign the meaning carried out by another?
They can wilfully reinterpret to their hearts content, but to reassign the actual meaning is impossible.
I don't believe I have any need to "correct" my own arguments. I believe the problem in this case lies squarely with yourself.
"My opponent is saying that I've actually not been arguing as much in terms of reason as I have been in terms of terms."
Well, the question of "whether or not it should be widely socially acceptable to return materials gifted to someone through a present back to where the materials were bought from." isn't going to be settled by arguing over rhetorical devices, the meaning of Common Sense (capitalised, for sirs pleasure), what a euphemism is or the true meaning of the word 'representation' now, is it?
It seems that you are arguing everything but the resolution.
"My opponent keeps pointing out how I've deployed, or rather, "employed" several rhetorical devices. Very observant. But this is a debate. We are supposed to use rhetorical devices. It's very redundant to point out rhetorical devices."
A debate is not merely a showing of wordplay or language or logic command, rather it is more the integration of all these faculties and more to further your argument for a specific resolution. You have sacrificed the letter for the envelope, the food for the packaging.
To use your chess analogy, you have sacrificed the strategy for the tactics. The tactics should be used to realise the strategy, aiming for checkmate, but you have just been using disjointed, stand alone tactics with no checkmate in mind.
And without a king to give employment and purpose to your rhetorical devices, it is you who have rendered them redundant.
Anyway, thanks for your time.